WAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! In which I figure some shit out. Sort of. And whine a bit.

So I’m sick. And that sucks.

Let’s pause for this:

This is me. I am under a blanket, too. But I definitely don't look quite as adorable when I cry. Anyway.

This is me. I am under a blanket, too. But I definitely don’t look quite as adorable when I cry. Anyway.

What I have is kind of like the flu “lite.” My whole body aches and going up the stairs kinda makes me feel like I ran a marathon. I finally gave up trying to “work from home” again (like I did on Monday and Tuesday…barely) and just took a sick day today.

Why am I sick? Is that even a question people ask? I used to get sick a lot, but in the last 2 years I have gotten sick far less frequently–I say from being in better shape and making better food choices. So I DO want to know what the hell is going on.

But when I tried to figure out what brought me down this time, I saw a general kind of decline since Saturday morning. I had pushed really hard at workouts for several days, but that’s not a unique circumstance for me. So I thought some more.

Frankly, I don’t think I’m eating enough. I don’t think I’m giving my body enough fuel to–in the words of my awesome trainer Karin–“support the amount of weight I throw around in the gym.” (word)

I also have consistently been told by docs that I have low red blood counts and should be on iron supplements. No matter how much red meat and dark leafy greens I have eaten, I can’t seem to make up for the deficiency. I need to find and STAY ON a quality iron supplement.

Continuing to work with my diet and get it right so my body can handle all I ask of it is a new goal for me. It’s a critical one, because I’m not making ANY progress towards my other goals while I’m sick.

So, I’m working hard to accept the reality that I am not an impervious superhero who never gets sick. (Good thing I don’t have unrealistic expectations for myself.)

But there’s another problem that comes with being sick, and all you moms will understand.

Ya catch my drift?

Ya catch my drift?

Right. It’s close to impossible to “rest” when you have kids running amok, with lunches to be made and science projects to do involving the creation of a cross section of the human eye out of household objects. And play rehearsal. And a band concert. And an eye doctor appointment that I couldn’t possibly put off because we had waited two months to be scheduled, and at which my 6 year old daughter screamed as though being murdered (just like every other time) while I pinned her to the chair and held her thrashing and screeching little self so they could put those infernal drops in her eyes. She could not be reasoned with. That shit is fight or flight for her, and holy crap does she fight.

So, yeah, I haven’t done much in the way of “resting,” and yet I haven’t really gotten much done. I look around my pigsty of a house and feel depressed at my lameness. At my inability to carry a load of laundry without gasping for breath afterward. At my reluctance to go pick the kids up at school right now–even though I miss them dearly–because I know it will exhaust me. At my conflict over whether I should go to dance crew rehearsal tonight–even just to watch–because I miss my awesome girls so much and would like to do SOMETHING that feels like my real life.

Because slobbing around in pajama pants, shivering under a big blanket and watching Secret Life of the American Teenager on Netflix is definitely NOT my real life.

I friggin hate being sick.

Whining Fat Girl, out.

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In Which I Live My Personal Nightmare: An Extended Metaphor

It was just an ordinary Tuesday morning, on my way to 6am class with Mike to lift some heavy shit and generally be a badass. You know, whatevs.

When suddenly, the powers of the universe turned against me and this happened:

*Disclaimer: I did not actually take this photo. But this is very nearly what I saw.

*Disclaimer: I did not actually take this photo. But this is very nearly what I saw.

Seriously, out of nowhere. One second, no snow. And the next…

And I turned into a whimpering lameass, just like that.

So ok, here’s the deal: I consider myself a reasonably courageous person. I push to step out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. I don’t hate snow or anything, and I *can* drive in the snow.

But…I am freaking terrified of driving in the snow. TERRIFIED. Like, literally white knuckles on the steering wheel, stiff back, every muscle clenched.

It is my kryptonite, probably because of a few car-losing-control-in-snow-or-ice-holy-shit-we-are-all-going-to-die experiences from way back when. I avoid driving in snowy or–god forbid!–icy weather at all costs, especially when there are hills involved.

My drive to the gym involves going down a very large hill on a highway. I have unabashedly cancelled workouts because of weather due to my crippling fear of driving on this hill in snow or ice.

So you can imagine my terror (yes, terror–go ahead and laugh at me for being a lameass, but it is true) when I got caught in what I can only call a “flash blizzard” en route to my workout.

I literally could not see the road in front of me. I was on a stretch of the highway with a 3+ mile space between exits, and the next exit was, of COURSE, at the bottom of the aforementioned terrifying hill.

I couldn’t turn around. I couldn’t keep going. I COULDN’T EFFING SEE THE ROAD!

I whimpered a little. I may have even sobbed a bit. This was my nightmare, people. It was 5:45 and still dark, and the snow was, like, EVERYWHERE.

I considered my options:

1) Just sit there, stopped on the side of the highway, until it cleared and I could see better. And the trucks came to plow. Or someone came to rescue me. (This option would likely include more sobbing).

2) Keep going. (Let’s face it, this option would likely also include more sobbing.)

I’m proud to say that it only took me about 30 seconds to discard option 1 as completely lame and out of character.

So I sucked it up. I kept going.

I kept going VERY slowly, and driving on the divots in the side of the road–you know, the ones that make that annoying loud noise when you start to veer off the lane–because at least if I could hear that noise, I knew I was going in a straight line.

Of course I had to keep going, because by the time I got to the next exit I would have already done the hardest part–the hill. And once I got down the hill, there was no point in turning around and heading home.

So even as I’m writing this, I feel sort of ridiculous. It all sounds very dramatic. (Of course, if you know me at all by now, you know this is partly just me.) But even for ME, it’s dramatic and definitely so lame.

But we all have our fears that seem absurd and make us feel like total pathetic wimps. This is mine (well, I also have an almost-as-crippling fear of mold, but we can talk about that another day).

Pathetic wimp that I was, I put on my hazards and crawled down that hill at like 10mph. More whimpering occurred, along with some praying, and the full expectation that at any moment I could and most certainly would lose control, slide over the side and pitch down the mountain in my crappy little car.

Dramatic? Yes.

Real fear? Definitely.

Obviously, I made it and lived to tell the tale. I was only a couple of minutes late for class, and still kinda shaking when I got there. I’m not proud, but against my will, I had to face this kinda ridiculous fear and push past it. Because chances are, if I had known about the “flash blizzard,” I wouldn’t have left my cozy bed.

It’s a good lesson…

Thanks, MT.

Thanks, MT.

But I think there’s more to my little story than just the fear aspect. I really thought about it after, about what it was like sitting on the side of that road, trying to decide what to do, where to go from there.

I didn’t think I could go forward. I couldn’t turn back. I had no one but myself to rely on at that moment, and I had to dig deep, regardless of how silly the fear might have seemed to my rational mind.

At the end of my workout, I left the gym sweaty and feeling badass again. When I walked outside, the sky was perfectly clear as the sun came up. Like the little flash blizzard had never even happened. Son of a bitch.

Even when you think you can’t go forward, turning back isn’t the answer either. Weather the storm; it’ll be worth it.

It’s a pretty sweet metaphor. I’ll let you ruminate.

The Horse’s Mouth, Apple Carts, and Other Stupid Metaphors

Well, hey there. Life has taken a bit of a hectic turn–as it tends to do just when things start to feel like smooth sailing–and we’re in a period of transition over here as my husband settles into his great new job with the not-so-great commute. Of course, more commute time=a much longer day for him, and a lot of added stress on both of us as I have to man the ship here at home and do all the kid-related running around, most of the cooking, etc. Like so many worthwhile things in life, this new job for him has given us new challenges, but it’s worth it.

And as you know from my last few posts, I’m not quitting, but I am struggling to find a balance between the hectic-ness and continuing my forward motion on this journey into badassery.

I’ve written about 10 blog posts (in my head, of course, where they’re not as interesting to you) but by the time I get a minute to sit down in front of the computer, I draw a blank. What was that fabulous phrase I had in mind while I was driving to class at 5:20 the other morning? Or the gem I came up with just before I drifted off to a dead sleep last Tuesday night?

So I came up with a fairly brilliant idea and started using the voice recorder on my phone. It helps while I’m driving, as I usually tend to be the most inspired on my way to or from workouts. I’ve had this one recording I thought had some good ideas in it for about three days and kept trying to get to working it into a post. And it just hasn’t happened.

So then I came up with a possibly even more brilliant idea but semi-terrifying idea to just give you the straight recording…why don’t I just transcribe that shit for you so you can get the crazy thoughts straight from the horse’s–er, my–mouth? I’m not going to edit it or try to make it make sense. I’m just going to give it to you. Talk about getting real. I am not thrilled about doing this but it’s in line with my stepping further and further out of my comfort zone, and giving you a birds’ eye view into my struggles.

Here goes (please let me type fast):

“I’ve been trying to figure things out. I’ve been trying to figure out what my problem is…why my attitude is so bad…(insert sound of blinker clicking…) I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so grouchy when a couple of weeks ago I was so excited about what I was doing and how I was progressing. My progress didn’t stop. So what was the problem? Why did I lost my excitement for my journey, including writing in the blog?

I was waiting. I was waiting for…no, I wasn’t waiting. That’s bullshit. Let’s be honest. I was putting off. I was putting off writing another post until I had it all figured out. Ha! Yeah, right.

And then I remembered. People that read this blog…that like to read this blog…don’t need me to have it all figured out. Part of what I wanted to do on this blog was share my ‘figuring out’ process. I definitely don’t have it figured out yet, but here is what I know:

  • I like waking up at 4:30am. I like sipping my coffee and having some quiet time in the morning.
  • What I like even better is going to the gym after my coffee-sipping, working my ass off and coming out feeling like a f**king rock star.

But after that morning high, why am I so up and down throughout the day? That’s what I don’t know. Why do I let the fact that we’re in a time of transition affect me so much?

Because I’m a human being, that’s why. Duh.

So here we are in another time of transition and uncertainty, and I’m worrying. About a lot of things. I’m worrying about my family, I’m worrying about money, I’m worrying about…why am I worrying so much? What are my expectations? What am I trying to make happen that I can’t control? Because that’s what makes me worry. When I can’t control stuff.

Here’s another thing I know…what I can control is my own choices. And when I start to feel out of control with other things in my life, I start to let control of my food go. That’s stupid! That’s counterintuitive. Why would I do that? Why wouldn’t I take control over the things I CAN control? I don’t know. Human nature? At least, my human nature.

So you see I’m still figuring it out, but I have to hold onto the things I know.

  • When things feel out of control, I can control my own choices.
  • Endorphins are good, and I especially love them after morning workouts.
  • When I eat a brownie that I mixed out of a box, it tastes like shit, and gives me a headache later on. And doing that is f**king stupid.

The end.”

(At this point, I had turned off the recorder and kept driving. Then, I had some more thoughts pop into my head and turned it back on.)

“You know what? Maybe, maybe what I’m rebelling against is expectations. My own expectations of myself–which we all know are ridiculously high–everyone else’s expectations of me, YOUR expectations of me…my readers. Maybe even though I love hearing positive feedback (who doesn’t?) it puts additional pressure on me to meet those expectations, to be who everyone thinks I am.

What if I’m not that person? (pause) Am I really that person? (longer pause) I want to be that person. (REALLLLLLLLY long pause).

This is what happens when my apple cart gets upset. Everything in my life that I’ve ordered so nicely gets turned over. And I have to reshuffle it. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe there’s something really cool at the bottom of the apple cart and I never would have known it was there if it didn’t get turned over.

That’s the f***ing stupidest metaphor I’ve ever heard. Seriously lame. (longest pause ever).

Okay. That’s it.”

So, okay, there you go. And this reminds me of a quote that I have on my personal FB page and try to live by:

This “transition time” is not just something to be gotten through. Life is a series of transitions, and I’m going to keep working to figure it out, control what I can, and, in the meantime, enjoy the ride as much as possible.

Highs and lows, and why staying the course blows.

I am frustrated.

So. effing. frustrated.

When you last saw–er, read about–me, I was on a high. In fact, a number of my posts get written when I’m at a high point. That must be annoying. Right now, I am annoyed with the version of myself that wrote those blogs. I wouldn’t blame you at all if you wanted to punch that me in the face.

Today’s me is generally pissed off at her lack of progress, despite working her ass off and committing her whole heart to this sickening journey.

By “sickening,” I mean like a rollercoaster. And I friggin HATE rollercoasters. Up and down and sometimes sideways, at points perfectly exhilarating and at other points you just want to puke while you try to figure out why the hell you decided to go on this miserable ride in the first place.

So yeah, I’m at a low today. A bend-over-the-trashcan-and-vomit-up-the-carnival-food-you-unwisely-ate-before-the-rollercoaster low.

Today’s me knows that she should find some stupid pictures to put in this blog, but she’s not going to, because it’s just too much work right now.

I’ve been trying to figure out what my problem is. I get that I’ve made a lifestyle change, and I can live with that. I like the clean food I eat, and I am not feeling deprived lately. But I did let things go just a tad this weekend: a splurge meal turned into a splurge day, which turned into an almost-the-entire-weekend splurge.

It’s easiest for me to eat clean during the week, but on the weekends, sometimes it’s a pain in the ass…not because the preparation is difficult or I am looking for a donut and cheeseburger, but because I just don’t want to worry about it. And quite frankly, I don’t think I should have to.

And there’s the rub. Those sneaky little turds: the “shoulds.”

SHOULD, SHOULD, SHOULD.

Here’s my bitchy list of shoulds:

1. I work my ass of five times a week, and eat squeaky clean and portioned M-F. I SHOULD be able to eat whatever I want–within reason–on the weekends.

2. Given the monumental amount of effort I’ve put in over the last 5 months, I SHOULD be further along on my journey.

3. I have worked hard in my fitness journey, and at my new job. I SHOULD be able to afford to reward myself with some new clothes and not have to walk around in saggy ass pants that don’t really fit me anymore. I SHOULD also be able to get some hot new boots for the fall.

4. Speaking of fall, it’s my favorite season, full of rich smells, bold colors and crisp air. I SHOULD be able to enjoy my favorite fall treats without having to obsess over every bite.

5. I’m tired. I SHOULD be able to get more sleep.

I could go on like this forever. I think you’re getting the picture, though, and hopefully my bad mood isn’t rubbing off on you.

The reason I’m so low right now is because I know that even though I SHOULD…for all these things, I CAN’T. Just because something SHOULD be, doesn’t mean that it is. And today–well, for the last week really–that is pissing me off in a major way. See, I bolded it so you know it is REALLY pissing me off.

Staying the course on this fitness journey just sucks right now. The progress is so slow it makes me want to scream. It just seems unfathomable to me that I can work this hard and still not be further along and I. Am. Frustrated.

I’ve started to question what is reasonable, and what is obsessive when it comes to this long haul. I repeat to myself, “Stay the course. It’s worth it.” But how much? How long?

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about haters and metaphorical fat, where I noted that some of the awesomest people in my life love me DESPITE my possibly annoying focus on training and food.

This is true, and as always, I am grateful for those people.

But in my head, I’ve been wondering where the line is between being motivationally obsessed and being unhealthily obsessed. I don’t want my life to be ALL about fitness. I don’t want to be so crazed that I am going to be suicidal if I can’t get into a size 4 ever again.

But on the other hand, do I need to be THAT obsessed to really stay the course?

I don’t know.

I just want to be a reasonable person who can have a beer a couple of times a week. And maybe some cheese. And possibly a caramel apple, since it is fall, after all.

The serious challenge I’m facing is tempering this journey to a fitter and smaller version of myself with preserving MYSELF. And MYSELF freaking loves apple crisp made from apples I picked off a goddamned tree myself, with brown sugar and butter all mixed up together and then baked to a crisp on top.

It’s food, I get it. I obsess over food. But sometimes I feel like changing my attitude toward food is just as much about not making a huge deal of eating something once in awhile as it is about making sure my diet is clean and portioned.

But how do I know when I’ve gone too far and turned into a crazy obsessive freak instead of the best version of Steph I can possibly be? Where’s the line? Do I have to draw it myself?

That’s a stupid question. Of course I have to draw it myself. Shit.

I’ve solved nothing with this post. Perhaps I’ve even confused or annoyed you, my favorite reader. (Yes, you.) Apologies.

Some days, it just feels too hard to stay the course. Today is one of those days, but I guess I’m going to do it anyway. Fine.

Shedding Some Unwanted Pounds

This post is about flab. Metaphorical blubber, I mean. That hypothetical muffin top that keeps drawing your attention and reminding you how much farther you have to go instead of letting you focus on how amazing your arms look.

I’ve written about this before, sort of. But it’s become a theme for me, and a huge challenge.

This post is also about haters. I say this only because I kind of like that word; it makes me feel a little like a hip hop badass to throw it around, AND there are some hilarious images to be found on Pinterest when one searches “haters.” Like this one:

hater cat

Look at this badass cat!

This cat rocks. Look at him. He’s like the freakin’ honey badger. He don’t give a shit about haters. He’s just that awesome. Why can’t I be more like this cat? Granted, I would prefer not to have to lick myself clean, but I would really like to adopt his attitude a little bit more wholeheartedly into my life, toward the “haters” and toward all the other crap that I allow to come between me and my badassery.

So, let’s talk about this unwanted fat in our lives. For me, there are two kinds of figurative chubbiness that I would like to shave off my figure: toxic people (the haters, yo!) and overcommitments.

Let’s start with the people. Ahhhh, the people.

Like I’ve said before, my life is bursting with amazing people that support me, laugh with (and at!) me, push me to be my best, cheer me on, and keep me going when I want to give up. (I bet lots of them are reading this, so THANK YOU! I heart you so very much and consider myself a lucky, lucky girl to have you in my life.)

Then there are the other people. You know the people I’m talking about, because you probably have some in your life, too.

These are the people that tell us–not necessarily in words, but in their actions and attitudes–that we’ll never meet our goals, or that our goals are not worthwhile.

The ones who tell us we’re not good enough.

The ones who tell us how annoying our obsession with health and fitness is.

The ones who tell us they don’t care enough about what’s important in our lives to recognize our struggles and progress.

The ones who tell us they are too miserable to share our happiness.

Toxic people. Haters.

When it comes to these people in my life, I can’t seem to summon that catlike badassery. Instead, I become the worst version of myself that I can possibly be, and that just sucks. It’s a constant struggle. As much as my rational mind says, “You rock, Steph. Those haters gonna hate and that’s their problem,” my heart always gives in to feeling hurt that everyone doesn’t love everything I do, and that some people are just unhappy and mean and I am a big, fat target.

So it’s time for this:

positive people

Truth.

Yep. The bottom line is this: I’m cutting the fat. I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s cool. People who want to be part of my life as I’m living it can join the party, and people who don’t are free to go.

Whether it’s someone reading this blog who I’ve never even met that says, “This bitch is crazy,” and never visits the site again, or an old friend from high school who gets sick of my constant blathering about how much I can deadlift (currently 235, in case you don’t know), it’s all good. I have my people, and they rock. I’ll tell them again right now how much I heart them.

Now, some of the awesomest people in my life love me DESPITE my possibly annoying focus on training and food. What I’m doing may not be their bag, baby, but they get it, and they support me so they tolerate my constant blathering about how much I can deadlift (235#, in case you missed it in the last paragraph.) An even bigger thank you to those amazing peeps who love me for all I am, even the parts they might not like as much.

So, my friends, I encourage you to come with me on this journey to shed your flabby-back-of-the-arm friends; the ones who only bring you down and keep your attention on the negative.


So besides the people, what about the other extra weight we’re holding onto? The commitments that don’t connect with our goals. The time-sucking obligations that we can’t seem to let go of, even though we hate them. Or, maybe we don’t HATE them, but we surely don’t LOVE them.

These obligations can keep us focused on the negatives instead of our badassery just as much as the haters, yo. (Is it just me, or should “haters” always be followed by “yo”?)

Let me tell you a little story. It’s kind of a mom confession, but you’ll probably understand whether you’re a parent or not.

My kids came home from the first day of school last night with a huge stack of papers. It was homework…for me. Five gazillion forms to sift through, read, fill out. Checks to be written for PTA membership, for lunch tickets, for the after school programs.

I came to the PTA volunteer opportunities form, and was suddenly crippled with dread. What lameass responsibility was I going to have to sign up for this year?

Then, I did something amazing. I put that goddamned form into the “recycle” pile, and didn’t look at it again. THE END.

(Now that’s a happy ending if I ever heard one.)

Listen, before you get all judgy and be like, “Oh, Steph hates the PTA!” let me tell you this. I have volunteered for shit at the school before, and my kids don’t seem to give a crap if I do it or not. Four years ago, I found myself on a planning committee for a Talent Show that my son wasn’t in, and never would consider being in, just because I felt like I had to be involved in some way. The people on the committee were nice and welcoming and all that, but in the end I remember thinking to myself “What the hell am I doing here?”

I’ve tried in other instances to be involved in ways that are more related to what my kids are doing. But, here’s the problem: I wasn’t having fun, my kids didn’t care, and frankly we don’t do much that involves the PTA. That’s just how our family rolls. My son plays lacrosse; I do the team organization and communication and my husband coaches. We are very involved in our church community; I am a co-chair on the Board of Christian Education.

You get the picture. The PTA stuff just isn’t our wheelhouse, so the volunteering stuff for it was like a giant piece of cellulite hanging off the backs of my thighs, drawing my focus and time away from things I loved doing.

So I cut that crap off. I paid the dues, but I don’t have the time or the energy to commit to something that my family doesn’t love and want to be actively involved in.

How often do you evaluate your commitments and think about which ones really matter and add to your life positively?I know I don’t do this nearly as often as I should. Many times, I just say yes, or sign up for something without even considering if I really WANT to do it enough to make the time.

For me, 5-6 workouts a week represent a huge time and energy commitment. What I have left has to be completely focused only on things that bring me and my family joy. That’s how I’m making decisions these days. If something comes along that might require my attention, time or energy–whether it’s a personal commitment, a night out with friends, a new activity for the kids, or something we might spend our hard-earned money on–if we are not like, “OH YEAH!!! That is awesome and I am SO doing that!” then it’s going in the recycling bin like the PTA volunteer form. Done. Boom.

The commitments are always easier to weed through than the people. But we’ve got to keep working at it, because when we keep our eyes on the positive, life is good.

Indeed.

So cut the fat, my friends. Stop zeroing in on the symbolic dimples on your booty, and focus instead on what’s really important: your catlike badassery, and the people and things that bring you joy.

It’s a hard re-entry. But worth it. (That’s what she said.)

Hi there. You haven’t broken up with me, have you? I know it’s been awhile. But there was vacation and school started today, etc etc, blah blah blah. But don’t lose faith. I’ve got tons of half-written blogs in the pipeline, so sit tight.

Let’s start with vacation. Ahhhhh, vacation.

I ate a lot of food: strawberry cupcakes, french fries, cheesy hash browns, birthday cake, ice cream, more birthday cake, an a-mah-zing plate of pasta with asparagus, chicken and tomato in a parmesan cream sauce, and yes, one Taco Bell taco. (That is less delicious and more disgusting. But we’re doing full disclosure here, so I had to share.)

I started to take pictures of the food to share with you (see, I was thinking about you while I was away!) but then realized that was incredibly cruel…to both of us. So, you’ll just have to take my word for it that the food was both lovely and delicious. YUM.

I also drank a lot of beer and wine. And I DID take this picture for you (and me. Mostly me. It was so good.):

beer

Rocket Red, brewed right on Disney’s Boarwalk. Delish.

I didn’t train at all. Unless you count traipsing through the Magic Kingdom (which I don’t) or carrying a 57lb kid on my back for a 1-ish mile walk at the end of a long day (I might count that as like HALF a workout).

Here’s the deal, folks. I was really, REALLY anxious about this vacation. Like, to the point of driving my husband insane. When will I train? How will I control my eating? How will I get back on track afterwards? What if I lose all my momentum during vacation? Ohmagawd, WHAT IF I GO BACK TO BEING AS FAT AS I USED TO BE instead of the somewhat-fat-but-getting-fitter-every-second I am right now?

But once I hit that open road at 4:06am on Thursday morning, coffee beside me, kids nestled snugly in their seats, cooler, suitcases, and fun activities packed, I breathed out. I enjoyed. I let go.

I ate, I drank, and I reveled in spending time with the people I love the most, and nothing else mattered.

Cinderella's carousel

Look at those faces! MWAH!

Drew and Skylar

My husband–now affectionately known as Mr. Badass–and my adorable niece.

Family in Downtown Disney

Love.

Yes, vacation was a-mah-zing. Coming back? Getting back on track? It SUUUUUUUUCKS. But for me, my friends, the juice was DEFINITELY worth the squeeze.

Here’s the deal: we got back late Thursday afternoon, and I hit dance crew rehearsal that night at 8pm, followed by a 6:30am workout first thing Friday morning. This was NOT fun, but it had to be done. Think about your old college days, when you party your ass off on a Saturday night, then have to wake up the following Sunday morning early to clean up the mess before your parents come in for visiting day. The party was worth it, but the hung-over clean up completely sucks.

Of course, the other problem I faced was entirely created by my own choices. On Friday afternoon and most of the day Saturday, I chose back to school shopping with my kids over meal planning and grocery shopping, so my bad eating continued throughout the weekend. I made that choice, and I accept the misery that it wrought. And, oh, was I miserable on Sunday. I felt like shit, had no energy and–big surprise!–I got sick. My body had just had enough with my shenanigans, and I don’t blame it one bit.

It was a total relief on Monday to have all my food ready to go and get back to clean eating. Today, three days back on track, I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. I’ve been managing the cold/cough with my Neti pot and serious sweat sessions, and it’s working.

Trust me, I thought about bailing on dance crew Sunday night because I felt so lousy. But I went, and felt better. That’s what drove me to drag my sorry ass out of bed Monday morning when the alarm went off instead of sleeping in again. Guess what? I felt better after the workout. Again. Same thing on Tuesday. I’m still sniffling and coughing here and there, but the food and the workouts are crushing this lameass cold out of my system. Suck it, germs!

So the thing is this. I know I’m always talking about stepping out of my comfort zone, and encouraging you to do the same. Usually that’s with regard to working out hard, and really pushing your limits. Not this time.

For me, letting go of my strict clean eating and training on vacation was a huge scary thing, and it surprised me to recognize that. I’ve realized that working out 5-6 times a week and eating clean has become my new comfort zone, and I was terrified to step out of it. Terrified of what would happen with the measuring tape, the way my clothes fit, and yes, even the scale. I was also terrified that if I let go, I wouldn’t be able to make it back.

comfort zone

But when I let go, it was heavenly, just for that week, to not have to say “no” and always be watching everything that went into my mouth. To sleep in. To not obsess over how much I could lift today.

Instead, I got to experience how fit my body is when I didn’t get tired criss-crossing the Magic Kingdom all day, and found that it wasn’t really that hard to carry my 10 year old son on my back. I experienced how delicious a cupcake can be when you don’t eat them five times a week. (Really, really delicious.)

I also experienced a 6lb increase on the scale, and a little trouble buttoning my new, smaller-size shorts at the tail end of the trip.

But guess what else? I discovered that I can trust myself. That I really am committed for the long haul, because I’m back on track, and my shorts and the measuring tape will soon reflect that.

So, a really awesome vacation and a newfound sense of self-trust: 100% worth every moment of misery I endured during the re-entry to real life.

Three questions to change your life. Part three.

OK, so you figured out what you really wanted, in clear and specific terms. Then, we talked about what you are willing to do, what commitments and sacrifices you were willing to make, to earn what you wanted.

And now, it’s time to figure out the final piece. So today, I ask you this: What are you allowing to stand in your way?

Notice that I didn’t say, “What is standing in your way?” I asked what you are allowing to come between you and your goal, because, as we talked about yesterday, if you want it bad enough, there’s nothing you won’t do to achieve it.

Allowing obstacles and challenges to stop you is a choice, and it’s one I hope you won’t make. Because you’re way too awesome for that.

So let’s start with one of, if not THE, most common obstacle out there: fear. It is a huge mental challenge, and it sucks. Believe me, I have been there, and I am still there every day.

Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of looking like a jackass, fear of getting hurt, fear of the unknown, fear of hard work, fear of being uncomfortable…I feel all of these things, pretty much on a daily basis. But, I decided several months ago to tell fear to suck it.

It’s not an easy thing to do, peeps. But if I can do it, really, anyone can. I know that sounds like some lameass platitude, but it is absolutely, 100% true. Look at how far I’ve come:

box jump

Yep, that’s me. Making that box my bitch, which represents the overcoming of a HUGE obstacle for me.

As obstacles go, fear is probably the hardest to get past, because it’s all up there in your head. In fact, I might argue that all our mental obstacles stem from fear.

What are we all so effing afraid of, anyway? THAT’S the question. Maybe our greatest fear should be not achieving all that we are capable of, and not fully living as a result. (But maybe that’s too deep for a Monday.)

The bottom line here is this: if you are letting your fear stand in the way, you are your own obstacle. obstacles

I just can’t let you do that. So stop making excuses and letting your fear dictate who you’re going to be. Screw fear! Decide, and do. You can acknowledge your fear, but don’t let it run your life! Fear doesn’t get to make the decisions! That’s bullshit. YOU are in charge of your choices. Fear can be present, but it can’t stand in your way unless you let it. Are you? Be honest.

Do any of these apply to you?

1. “I can’t because I might fall when I try to jump over the box.” (fear of failure, getting hurt, looking like a jackass)

2. “I can’t because I’ve never done it before and don’t think I’ll be able to.” (fear of failure, getting hurt, the unknown)

3. “I can’t because it’s too hard.” (fear of failure, getting hurt, hard work, discomfort)

4. “I can’t because I’m too tired/too busy/too whatever.” (fear of failure, the unknown, hard work, discomfort)

If so, you are standing in your own way. And, as your friend and a big fan of YOU, I’m telling you to cut that crap out. Stop thinking so much. Every second you pause before doing something that’s hard or scary gives your brain more time to make excuses and create obstacles.

Repeat after me: I am scared shitless. But I am doing this anyway.

But Steph, what about “real” obstacles?

Yeah, yeah, I know. And don’t get me wrong here, I know that fear is a very REAL obstacle. But sometimes there are obstacles outside of our heads that we have no control over, and you might be wondering how I propose you deal with those obstacles, especially the ones that seem insurmountable. We’re not talking about being afraid to jump over a wooden box, we’re talking about not being able to quit a job you hate because you need the money. We’re talking about running in the Olympics with no legs.

Oscar Pistorious

Oh, look. Oscar Pistorious actually did that. What’s your obstacle, again?

Do we think that Oscar woke up one day and said, “I think I’ll be in the Olympics today?’ and then just was? Obviously not. Hard work. Training. Commitment. Dedication. I am hard pressed to think of an obstacle to getting fit that can’t be crushed with all of these things.

The same goes for other types of obstacles. The job scenario? OK, so you can’t leave your miserable job yet. Decide what you want to do, and work toward it. You’ll have to endure your crappy job for awhile, but you have to resolve within yourself that the paycheck makes it worthwhile, for the moment. In the meantime, work your ass off to get yourself to a place where you CAN get the job you will love.

Obstacles are choices, people. They present opportunities for us to change and grow, if we let them.

So I guess my closing question is:

Do you want to change your life, or do you want to stay the same? It’s all within your power. Crush your obstacles, no matter how long it takes, and live the life you deserve. I believe in you.